Technostress in a hostile world: older internet users before and during the COVID-19 pandemic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objective: Older adults are largely ignored in studies of technostress (stress induced by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) use). This study aimed at exploring individual and contextual antecedents to technostress among older ICT users. Methods: Online surveys with ICT users aged 60 years and above were conducted in 2016 (N = 537) and during the COVID-19 pandemic of 2020 (N = 407), examining technostress level, internet use patterns and sociodemographic background. The 2020 survey also assessed a COVID-19-related Hostile World Scenario (HWS). Results: The two samples had very similar background characteristics, but participants in 2020 were more experienced and their internet use was significantly more diverse and intense than that of their predecessors. The factors predicting technostress in both samples were poorer health, fewer years of use, fewer hours of use per typical week and smaller use repertoire. The technostress level in 2020 was significantly higher than that of 2016—a finding explained by the COVID-19-related HWS. Conclusions: Individual antecedents hardly vary in the presence of significant contextual antecedents, but HWS may leave users with fewer resources to cope with the negative effects of technology use. Future research should explore additional contextual factors and interventions that may alleviate technostress among seniors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)526-533
Number of pages8
JournalAging and Mental Health
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2022


  • COVID-19
  • internet
  • old age
  • technology
  • wellbeing

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Geriatrics and Gerontology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Gerontology
  • Phychiatric Mental Health


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